University students have been hit hard by the disruption of the pandemic, but record application numbers show the demand for higher education remains strong – and after a challenging year, students are seeking out a university experience that works for them.

Located 25 minutes north of London, the University of Hertfordshire – which has places available in Clearing this September – has a significant number of students who choose to commute to campus, rather than move away from home.

For Jade Childs, who is preparing for a PGCE after graduating in English this summer, commuting was the cost-effective choice – and turned out to be a fulfilling experience all-round.

Times Series: Jade Childs: 'I wouldn't change a thing'Jade Childs: 'I wouldn't change a thing'

“A lot of people might worry that they’ll be the only one not living in halls, but I soon found a whole group of friends who commuted like I did. We used to meet at the park and ride shuttle bus and have breakfast together before lectures!”.

It’s not just the social aspect that suited these ‘commuter students’. “The campus was still very much the epicentre of my experience at Hertfordshire. I still had access to the amazing 24-hour libraries and all the facilities, just like any other student."

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While she might have missed out on a few lie-ins before lectures, Jade believes the experience of commuting sets young people up for the world of work. “You have to follow a structure and routine, factor in a commute, and be smart about how you use your time on campus. By getting my work done in between classes while I was on campus, I almost never had to work at home on the weekends”.

Jade was one of around 70,000 students in the country who found her university place through the Clearing system. “I missed the original UCAS deadline, but Herts was my first choice. All the staff were super helpful, and I had my place secured within two days of sending off my application”.

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Jade’s message to young people thinking about commuting? “Don’t be scared you’ll miss out – I genuinely would not change a single thing about my experience at Hertfordshire!”

To find a course at the University of Hertfordshire in September, apply online at or call the Clearing hotline on 0300 303 6300.